After two meetings in January where the governing board tabled the discussion, Maricopa High School’s sports teams can celebrate the approval of a new grass turf surface that may be in place for the fall sports season.
The governing board, while still skeptical of the new field that will cost approximately $650,000 more up front than a well-designed natural grass field, offered its approval in a 3-1 vote. Business Manager Burnie Hibbard pressed the board after past presentations by Hibbard, Athletic Director Michael Larson and D.L. Withers representatives failed to convince board members of the need.
According to Hibbard, the board was on the brink of not being able to get the field in place in time if it tabled the measure once again. The alternative, he said, would be that the district would need to purchase or lease land in another location to create new practice fields, as the grass surface would not accommodate the increasing athletic and extracurricular demands for the field.
Hibbard and MHS Principal Jeff Kleck said former football opponent Tonopah Valley utilized the grass turf and Kleck said it was a surface that held up to the weather concerns the board had. The field heats up nearly 15 degrees above air temperature. During the summer months it often needs to be cooled by a sprinkler system before usage.
“I don’t know that there’s a better solution,” Hibbard said.
MHS boys soccer coach Jack Berg said installation of an artificial surface would have added benefits in encouraging club teams like lacrosse to build their members and have a field on which to play. The surface comes pre-striped for both football and soccer, Hibbard said. School officials plan to use the newly-installed junior varsity baseball and softball outfields for practice areas for football and soccer teams next year.